NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – State engineers are looking to fix a major bridge on the North Strand that the state Department of Transportation says has bits of concrete falling from it.
Thousands of vehicles drive over the U.S Highway 17 and South Carolina Highway 9 bridge every day. It helps people traveling between Little River and North Myrtle near Cherry Grove.
All the traffic on top of the bridge is causing some of what’s underneath to break.
“Concrete has been spalling off the underside of the bridge and falling into the water,” said SCDOT assistant district engineer Travis Patrick.
That’s why the SCDOT Commission on Thursday approved $315,000 in additional repairs underneath the bridge.
“It seems to have a tendency to spall off for some reason on this bridge,” said Patrick. “We don’t know why and we haven’t really seen it like this on any other bridge before.”
Concrete has not only gone into the Intracoastal Waterway, but it’s also forced the boat launches under the bridge to close several times.
Since SCDOT inspectors say this will keep happening, crews will encapsulate the spots where concrete is breaking with aluminum sheeting to strengthen those areas.
“Of course, that’s a danger to the public,” Patrick said. “The contract that we have put in place is to repair it or prevent it from being a danger.”
Patrick also says work will start as soon as possible to prevent traffic from getting worse when more tourists come back to North Myrtle in the summer.
“Our goal is to try to work on the spans over the Intracoastal Waterway first because the contractor is going to have to do lane closures to access those areas,” he said.
While there’s no date for when work will begin, Patrick says the goal is to finish the parts over the Intracoastal before Memorial Day weekend.